Tried and Tested Thursday: Going Acros Southend – Canon EOS 500n and Holga 120 with Fuji Acros (Expired)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting two rolls of expired Fuji Acros on the Canon EOS 500n and Holga.

Two different format films, 35mm and 120 on the same day; at the same time, at the same location. The camera juggling struggle was real, but certainly worth it. Both rolls expired in October 2019, so I decided to use them exactly a year later.

I went to Southend last October for the day, it was half term – for readers who aren’t from the UK, it is a school break/holiday, typically short for a week or two. Based on a suggestion and inspired from my previous trip there before, I decided to shoot in Southend in the later months in black and white, during the autumn/winter months. I wanted to compare and contrast what it was like during high and low seasons, and whether there would be more people visiting later on in the year. Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, it was slightly different with many places closing for months, such as amusement parks, attractions, entertainment, shops and restaurants. I was quite lucky to have visited Southend before the third (and final) lockdown that would happen a few weeks later.

Despite shooting two same brand films in two different formats, the results had varied after processing and scanning. I will discuss each cameras’ outcome separately in this post and compare them.

Canon EOS 500n

I used the 50mm 1.8 lens with an orange filter on my day trip shooting. It had been the second time I had used the expired Acros roll with both the same lens and colour filter; the first time was for an upcoming photographic series, which I hope to unveil from next month.

High Times in a Low Tide

The majority of photos I had taken on the film were on the beach, from walking along east and towards Shoeburyness (only five miles away) to heading back to the Westcliff area before heading home.

That particular day was cloudy with a low tide, which made the beach almost look like quicksand. This was the first time I had seen a low tide in my life!! I did attempt to walk across and it was a bad idea, as my trainers were getting muddy.

Like the previous visit to Southend the summer before, the seaside was near empty and deserted. It wasn’t as busy as I had thought it would be, since it was an advantage for me to do my photography in peace.

Boats aren’t going nowhere (for now)

I worked my way along the beach, mainly capturing my surroundings of the high tide and small boats that were stuck in the tide. I also focused on the clouds too, capturing the formation and detail in the sky.

I kept the photography simple, focusing on landscapes as well as the finer detail whenever shooting with the prime lens.

The results after processing and scanning came out good. They do have further potential to produce darkroom prints, especially of those shot on the empty areas of the beach.

I do consider Acros being ‘grayscale’ since the black tones aren’t that deep. Nevertheless the grain is great, smooth and fine – all thanks to the 100 ISO. Just like the Lomo Color Negative film I used there a year before, it was also at 100 speed.

Holga 120

Like what I did with the Canon camera, I used my Holga mostly on the beach capturing the day’s low tide.

In true fashion, the Holga was taped to prevent possible light leaks however that wasn’t slightly the case after processing, more on that later.

Anyway, having had many trials and errors with the Holga over the years since its purchase, I was confident to pick it up again for the occasion. I was snapping away until I saw the bottom switch of the camera set at ‘B’, meaning ‘bulb’ which is to attach flash guns. I had done this the last time with the results coming out shaky and blurry, but in this case I flicked over to ‘N’, the ‘neutral’ mode.

The Holga is a basic medium format camera with very limited functions and settings. It happens to be a cult favourite and has a following in the photography community.

Whenever my film gets processed I often feel anticipated for the results, even more excited to see the negatives before scanning them…

Well, the Acros 120 negatives came out quite interesting: the first couple of frames were OK, but down the line it appeared to be some sort of problem or malfunction. I initially thought there could have been a few factors, from loading the film or possible exposure to light.

Most likely it could be from the paperbacking from the 120 roll, where the numbers seemed to be imprinted on some frames of the negatives. It didn’t really impact the post-production side of things, such as scanning but I didn’t want to discard the film. Sometimes I would keep ‘errors’ for keepsake purposes, like in this instance.

This was the second time shooting Acros on the Holga. The first time, the results came out blurry, so I was determined the second time round would be an improvement and probably would have been a bit better.

Now that I got my point ‘Acros’ slightly, I am satisfied with the results from both cameras. I do lean towards the Canon SLR being the strongest contender, although the Holga isn’t the loser in this round. The 120 film did have potential sans malfunction plus no tape, the outcome would have told an alternative story with a happier ending.

Nevermind. It was a learning curve.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Fuji Acros in 35mm and 120 (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Fuji Acros in both 35mm and 120, which expired in October of last year.

In 2018, Fuji announced that they were discontinuing Acros, alongside other films such as the Superia 200 and Natura 1600. However a year later, Fuji would release another version of Acros, known as Acros II.

In the summer of 2018, I had bought ten rolls of Acros in 35mm and a pack of five in 120. As of September 2020, I have three rolls in both formats remaining. A few months ago, I shot a single 35mm roll for an upcoming nature series, using a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens with an orange filter. The 120 roll was also used on the same day for the same series, using a Yashica TLR camera.

Acros has the finest grain, thanks to its low ISO of 100 with the contrast and tones being on point. I first shot with it in Switzerland back in 2017 on a Canon compact. I had no free rein with the settings on the camera, such as shutter or aperture, however the results came out quite good once processed and scanned.

The Acros was the film for the Point and Shoot cameras out there, as proven again when I took a few rolls with me to Nice last year, shooting with my trusty Olympus Mju 1. The main advantages on this trip was the sky was bright and sunny on some days, a lovely combo for the slow speed films to capture shadow and tones. The Acros did simply deliver that when shooting on the beach or around small towns.

Not only the film is great on compacts, also colour filters too especially on SLR or manual cameras. I did try it out on a Jessops brand yellow filter last summer on the Canon EOS 500n, and spoke in length on my Tried and Tested Thursday post a couple months ago.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing with Fuji Acros. A couple years back I shot a 120 roll on my Holga, not knowing the camera was on the ‘bulb’ mode hence why the results came out shaky and blurry, which has the potential of producing darkroom prints with an enlarger. Slightly disappointed, initially despite it being done on my error. I would try shooting the film again on the Holga, this time the outcome might be clearer.

Now I have six remaining rolls in both formats, expired almost a year ago, I am considering putting them into great use in the future. I was thinking of using my usual cameras or shooting them on completely different cameras, and see if there is a comparison in terms of quality.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Around Stoke Newington – Canon EOS 500n with Fuji Acros (Yellow Filter)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Fuji Acros on my Canon EOS 500n with a yellow filter.

Back in 2018, Fuji announced they were going to discontinue Acros both 35mm and 120. That same year, I had bought ten rolls of them in 35mm and a pack of five in 120 from Parallax in Brixton. Then around a year later, Fuji released Acros II in both formats; a little on the pricey side, yes, but I find it a little baffling on why the original film had discontinued in the first place…

Anyway moving on, I shot a few Acros rolls last year prior to the expiry date, which was October 2019. Including the examples used in today’s post. At the time of writing this entry, I still have some Acros film left: three in 35mm, and three in 120. I shot two rolls in both formats (past expiry) a couple months back for an upcoming series.

Last July I went on a little adventure around Clapton and Finsbury Park, then ending in Islington before going home. I had two different brands of film on me and used a yellow filter that was attached onto my lens. I had mainly used the Acros film around the Stoke Newington area with the journey initially starting from Clapton Pond through to the high street and ending on Church Street.

I was curious to test out the Acros film on the colour filters I have: orange, yellow and red. I wanted to see if there was a comparison from them used; in terms of tone and contrast, and to see if there is any significant difference from the results.

In the past prior to using filters or my Canon SLR, I only shot Acros on my Point and Shoot cameras, such as Canon Z135 and Olympus Mju 1. Results can vary from camera to camera, processing and even post-production like negative scanning or darkroom printing.

The overall outcome was good after processing and scanning the negatives at home with the Epson V550, however I am yet to print these in the darkroom.

On that day, I had focused my attention on street photography around the local area, although I briefly went to Abney Park Cemetery to take a few shots of the grave stones. I returned back to Church Street, mainly shooting store fronts or anything random like street signs. A slow speed film like Acros, which is at 100 ISO is good for bright days, especially sunny days. There are some advantages with low speed film to shoot in low light settings or night photography, something I had done a few times in the past but not with this particular film.

I have to admit, I don’t use the yellow filter as much in my black and white photography. It has been considered as being the ‘popular choice’ for beginners and quite versatile for any genre of photography. I often consider the orange filter for being versatile, which I think it can also be used for almost any style of photography from street to portraits.

The yellow filter on the Acros came out quite good, better than expected; the tones and contrasts are subtle and are on point, although there aren’t many deep blacks in the shadows. If I had set the shutter speed to 125 to 250, it would have possibly made a slight difference with the shadows; not too overexposed or underexposed, but somewhere in between.

It would be great to recreate the same street shots in the same location with the new Acros II film, and probably use the yellow filter again. It would be interesting to see if there is a major comparison between the new film and the original. I might consider that idea in the near future.

For now, I have a few remaining recently expired Acros films that I am hoping to put into great use at some point. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

Take care and stay safe